Merry F’in Christmas – How The Great West Coast Storm Screwed The Country (Part 1)
Well, I’ve been out of town since the 19th of December traveling to Los Angeles and then to Washington DC to visit with my family for Christmas. As a result of this abundance of holiday cheer my blog has been on hiatus, due more to the fact that my parents have no idea what a wifi router is, why it has a key or what that key is. As a result, no wifi for me upstairs on my laptop where I have all my writing tools in a row. I have now braved the basement to type on my parents standalone while my laptop sits in the case mocking me.
So, anyway I was suppose to be home today. Relaxing in the bosom of my family, drinking and comforting my now neurotic cat who hasn’t seen me in 10 days and wont see me for 4 more. Over two weeks is a life time to a cat. I’m sure she will ignore me, then stick to my side like glue and then possibly pee on me while I’m sleeping just to show how annoyed she is.
Well, I’m not home. I’m back in Virginia at my parents house and will be here until the New Year. How did this happen? I blame it on the hippies. A huge winter storm sweeped into California on the 19th (the day I started this traveling nightmare), pounded Southern California with rain for days and then moved on. Northern California wasn’t too badly hit. Mainly due to the fact that we are too smart to build our houses on toothpick stilts or build houses in secluded canyons that regularly catch fire without a quick way to get a fire truck to them, which in turn causes these houses to slide down the canyon in a river of mud.
I thought, big deal, so we walk around in the pouring rain at Disneyland. No biggie. The crowds will be less. But the storm moved on and moved across the country. You would think moving over land would dissipate the storm. Nope. It built and put a big hitch in everyones plans. It gets to the East Coast and newscasters are warning there could be a blizzard on Christmas Day in the District. Great. I figure I will never be able to get out because my plane will be mired in snow. Nope.
Christmas Day dawns with light flurries of snow that dump a grand total of 1/2″ on DC and Northern Virginia. Yay! I’m saved! There is no snow. I realize it sucks to be you if you are stuck in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts or any of the other Eastern states that had to deal with the huge dump truck load of snow. Parts of New Jersey were buried with 4 ft. of the stuff in a day. New York airports and Boston Logan were at a standstill. It was as bad as Heathrow although we have snow plows and snow melting machines to help clean up. London just has fortitude. I wondered why they didn’t pay some their unemployed to shovel the runways but that is a blog for another time.
I figured I was home free. No snow, clear skies. I arrived at the airport at around 4:45pm for a 6:45 flight. I check my bag. It is 2 pounds over the 50 pound weight limit. I offer to take things out rather than pay the freight. They let it go. A Christmas miracle! I skip (fine – slog) to the security line. Hey, when you are carrying a laptop bag full of tech toys and 3 Playboys from 1965 and a tote bag with 40 pounds of books – it’s heavy!
I get my ID checked. They either don’t notice or don’t care that my drivers license is expired. Yes, I have the temporary paper but I have no idea where it is at the moment. I am waved into another line by…. a maitre’d? A marching band conductor? It seems some TSA agents at Dulles are sporting thick, looping braid that attaches to their shoulder, goes under their arm and back to the shoulder again in a loop. WTF? They look like demented doormen. Is this a special badge of honor for grabbing the most junk in a month? I have no idea.
I take off my shoes, step up to the belt and start putting my things in bins. Again I am prepared to opt out of Rapiscan and am going commando. Hey, it’s my only means of protest! The guy in front of me starts for the metal detector with a backpack and a rolling bag. ummm Dude! What? Are you new? What are you doing? So he gets called back, puts his shit on the belt and then he doesn’t have his laptop in its own bin. Dude! Finally he goes through. I am waved to the metal detector so no groping for me. I feel a little sad. As I am waiting for my bags I notice the TSA agents looking at something in the Xray machine. You know when they stop the belt, reverse it, look again, point, look again? The prison matron Helga, I mean the TSA agent Helga glances at me. I immediately point to Mr. Clueless. Yeah, it’s his bag. She pulls him aside and proceeds to rifle through his bag like a demented squirrel. I get my things and go. However, curiosity gets the best of me. As I laced up my tennies, I watch to see what Mr. Clueless has in his bag. Ready?
A full sized bottle of Pepto Bismol. Dude! Are you new! Is that a 3 oz container, sealed into its own quart baggie, that was declared before hand? No. No, it’s not. The potentially lethal Pepto goes in the trash while Matron Helga roots around for more contraband liquid meds. I move on to my gate. Dulles has been renovated and it’s lovely. They now have high speed trains instead of the plodding “Star Wars – Moon of Endor” trams that use to play Frogger on the tarmac with the planes. I check the board. My flight is delayed. I was suppose to leave at 6:45pm, now I’m scheduled for 8:15pm. Not too bad. There is a wine bar. I can wait.
If I had only known……